Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prove it!

According to this Associated Press news item entitled "Federal court rules against military's gay policy", the appeals court judges disagree with the ban against out gays in the military.

The ban has been controversial from the beginning because, not only does it lack factual data that proves that being openly gay is 'bad for the morale', as they often cite, but also because it does not allow for open and honest discussion on the deeper problem of hostility against gay soldiers, who have often been harassed by fellow soldiers and even been the silent victims of hate crimes. If a gay soldier is attacked, he must fear discharge if he or she speaks up.

The ban was challenged by a lesbian nurse who sued after being discharged without pay by the Air Force for being gay, after serving for eighteen years. Her discharge took place during a shortage of flight nurses. Her law suit was dismissed, and she then appealed before a federal court. The opinion of the court is as follows:

"When the government attempts to intrude upon the personal and private lives of homosexuals, the government must advance an important governmental interest ... and the intrusion must be necessary to further that interest," wrote Judge Ronald M. Gould.

The article closes with the following remarks by the nurse:

"I am thrilled by the court's recognition that I can't be discharged without proving that I was harmful to morale," Witt said in a statement. "I am proud of my career and want to continue doing my job. Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me there."

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